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Musiques Nouvelles

This impressive CD production featuring some twenty-five Belgian composers is an eye- and ear-opener to our ignorance in UK of music in smaller countries as near as Belgium, just across the Channel.

Britain is notoriously insular and so it was worrying for a leading Music Academy to respond to my recommendation of a Chinese/American composer with "please be assured that our composition staff have thorough knowledge of today's most interesting composers throughout the world", which cannot be right...

That is why projects like this one (and Switzerland's Grammont Portrait discs) are important. Many of us will not recognize any of the Belgian names besides Henri Pousseur's; he has the last disc to himself, a live homage concert in 2009 featuring a lovely Seconde apothéose de Rameau.

It is not possible to review every work nor necessary, for each of these discs in the box has a varied programmes has something to intrigue, and they are well contrasted in instrumentations and idiom. A season of Musique Nouvelles from some of these composers would make a considerable impact at, say, London's Kings Place.

Peter Grahame Woolf